The newly named Cleckheaton Lambs just failed by a point at a lovely sunny Otley.
It was going to be a good test of the Lambs as Otley are mid table in Division 3 and it looked like it was to be Lambs to the slaughter when Otley’s impressive backs out flanked the defence to score a try in the left hand corner.
The Lambs defence held firm and it took quarter of an hour to get into Otley territory. Josh White plunged over for the ref to adjudge he was held up but from the resulting scrum, scrum half Jamie Hirst nipped through a gap to score his first try of the season. Kieron Downs converted from wide left to put the Lambs in front 5-7.
Otley looked good when they moved their backs and added two tries. The Lambs won a lineout on their own 22 but possession was lost and Otley span the ball right where their winger ran in. They added a second as their centre made a mid field break to score in the left corner.
Just before the interval the Lambs rallied, Jack Seddon seized on a loose ball he fed John Neal who put George Speight over in the corner.
At the break the Lambs trailed 12-15.
The second half was end to end with both defences on top and both sides struggling to come to terms with some refereeing decisions. It looked as though Lewis Beasty was set free to score but the referee adjudged a knock on by John Neal.
Otley sealed the game when the Lambs having won a scrum for a knock on had it turned into a penalty. From the resulting penalty the Otley left winger squeezed in at the corner.
There was still time from the last play of the match for Lewis Beasty and John Neal to set Harry ‘Lambchop’ Bairstow free and he sprinted down the right to beat the defence to score under the posts. Danny Clark converted.
A very good game and a good performance all round – when was the last time the backs outscored the forwards? At present the Lambs have scored 87 tries (forwards 67, backs 20).
Next game sees the Lambs on Tour! – we play RC Eemland of Amersfoort in the Netherlands on Saturday 7th April.
Team – Green, Bairstow, Downs, Wright, Speight, Beatsy, Hirst, Mortimer, Brown, Sheridan, Clough, Brannan, Seddon, Denham, White Replacements – Neal, Clark